Sunday, 9 December 2018

Byfield not at its best

Earlier today I had cause to visit Byfield. It is a rare occasion when I depart with nothing to write about, but today was a challenge.

True, the morning got off to a good start. A lovely Mahonia stood at the edge of the car park. It racemes of golden flowers are fragranced with the honey-scent of nectar and, given a spell of warm weather a hardy bumble bee with wrap itself in its fur coat and pay a visit. But not today. Mahonias are tricky beasts. This particular shrub may be Mahonia japonica, from south-east Asia but is more likely to be a hybrid involving a species from north west U.S.A. such as Mahonia x media. They provide a range of shrubs in flower from September until the flowing June.

A lovely Mahonia welcomed visitors to the car park in Byfield.
9 December, 2018

The churchyard is currently not at its best and we must be patient for a few more weeks for any spring bulbs to provide us with flowers. The only thing to catch my eye was a leaf of Herb Bennet, Geum urbanum, blistered and puckered by a mite. Cecidophyes nudus is a common enough species and the reptilian leaves left by its depredations are frequently encountered.
Herb Bennet showing the gross distortions left by Cecidophyes nudus.
Byfield, 9 December, 2018
These attacks seem to do little harm and gardens will continue to be plagued by this invasive weed.

Far less obvious, and overlooked at first, are the mines left on privet by the Lilac Leaf Miner,  Gracillaria (Caloptilia) syringella. The narrow mine often terminates in a large blotch but although is this case the blotch is absent I still think that this tiny moth is the culprit.

Lilac Leaf Miner on privet. Byfield, 9 December, 2018
It will attack privet, lilac and ash trees, all members of the Olive Family, Oleaceae.

At this point I had intended to give the pocket park a short visit but the weather took a downturn so I wimpishly scurried back to the warmth of my car.

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